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2012 Miami Book Fair International Saturday Education. (2012) Coverage of the 2012 Miami Book Fair International.

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Christopher 21, Us 12, United States 12, America 10, Cia 8, Osama Bin 7, Afghanistan 7, Pakistan 6, Carol Blue 6, Iraq 6, Obama 6, Pentagon 5, Hayden 5, Carol 5, Kissinger 5, U.s. 4, Christopher Hitchens 4, Miami 4, New York 3, Navy 3,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    2012 Miami Book Fair International Saturday  Education.   
   (2012) Coverage of the 2012 Miami Book Fair International.  

    November 18, 2012
    6:00 - 9:30am EST  

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>> each of them made the case and christopher would get up and offer his rebuttal. the doctor of islamic thought happened also to be in a wheelchair, and so after christopher finished taking down each of his opponents he then looked at the crowd and he said,
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surely you must be thinking he can't go after the woman in wheelchair. but i assure you, you are wrong. >> it's been pointed out often by him, by christopher, that he should've had come easy would have lived longer, if you less good constitution, although about his untimely death i will say he exactly died at the age of about 75 because his love of life is so great he never went to sleep. so his day was a third longer than ours. sorry. >> yeah, that cheers me up a bit except if you think would be kept barely sleeping and lived to 90? >> i know. he would metaphorically drink you under the table. been while he staggered off,
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smashed your head open on the bathroom floor and got into bed, covered in blood of 12 hours later, thinking how many days this hangover can last, he would come down having written a 5000 word piece of incredible quali quality, and you have to think that he was of a different species. it was not human what he could you after that kind of punishment. >> there's a lot of mythmaking and legend making with certain kinds of writers like christopher, but the problem is that everything you hear is only half fast and as good as he was. it was really something. it was literally a 5000 word story on deadline set for you and turned in at seven. and he didn't like people to know that. in fact, he often come in the
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old days when used to send by facts, because i've known him that long, he used to write the piece, then come back and joined the company after dinner and just lived on the fax machine and wait and send it the next morning because he didn't want them to know the time it took between the called it and when he had written it which was usually about 30 minutes. >> thinking of actually and john updike, it's been some amateur psychologist wrote that they have pressure on the cortex, these people, where there's, eloquence is pressing down on them and this would have to release it as an underground whale would release water.
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it's they can't not do it. john wrote 100 books in his life, and fantastic, quality. and you just have two bow out and hold their code while they do that. you can't compete. >> he was also, surprisingly, when he would deliver whether a manuscript or his essays as well for various publications, his objective come to turn in his piece in the mighty one of two things he would aggressively fight for, but what sort turn it over and let you do -- there was nothing to do really. >> there was nothing to do but often as editors they say we need to cut 1000 words for ads or perfume do whatever. he would you say okay, and he would find it and get rid of it. he was completely open discussion. not to say he didn't value his work when he was asked. it's just that was part of the
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craft and the work of having signed up for certain publications. >> you and i've spoken before about putting together arguably, and there was this bit of time where you and christopher and steve were collecting these pieces from the past 10 or 12 years. and, of course, would've been 1600 bits. >> far too much. >> and he was completely agnostic about what we could get rid of our what we could complete, and you were less to spend i hated seeing all those pieces being thrown out. it was fine with him. >> it's astonishing to look back on the collection and think about the breadth of subjects he was interested in, and just how wide-ranging his work was. >> he would write, for example, for "vanity fair" he wrote the entire text to the "vanity fair" hollywood book not knowing who have these stars were until he read their bios. you would write about starlets, sit down at the last minute and
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then he would write a long essay on philip morgan or the chesterton that was mentioned which he wrote in the icu of the m.d. anderson hospital center. >> don't forget -- >> extraordinary range, or could be peachy white house or james bond. or hegel or marx. >> we should, not to be morbid, but we should talk about his courage, and the fact that his good manners, sincere good manners. you would be sitting at his bedside at the hospital in houston, in the house hospital district and people are coming every half hour, every 20 minutes to do something horrible to him, and he never lost his
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greatness. stays with me that he was physically very brave. he was physically a brave man. and would often be in desperately menacing parts in london on the piccadilly circus comes to, they know their confrontation with sort of five very youthful looking young man of no great education. and i would be saying -- and he would never take a step back to anti-would arrive in here right one evening he make you an. and ian tells us story slightly rolling his eyes but hitch, you're right. let's have a drink. christopher said no, come on. he said there's a man revving of a woman at the other end of the square, let's go. >> there was a woman being roughed out in front of our apartment and he ran down and
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ran out and save her. you know, and i wasn't sure i was too happy about it. and he wasn't doing it to show off or to prove he was a who. he was actually trying to help the poor woman. >> carol, you said it's that same courage that allowed christopher to write so candidly about his own ordeal. over those 18 months. and you spoken and ago to speak a little bit now about what relationship is work as a foreign correspondent, the work he did in developing -- >> there are two aspects of the. one, he went to many, many dangerous zones over the course of his journalistic career. and had a number of near misses. notably, there was the time he was in afghanistan and had his white suit and a bag of books and decide to go to city outside
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of kabul, and suddenly realized he was standing in a square and he was in the middle of a fight between two warlords and bullets were flying and bombs are exploding and no one was on the street. he had a little card he had been given by the american embassy and he called that number and someone from the military came and rescued him. there was another time we almost lost his life driving route 66 for "vanity fair" and a red corvette. they gave him a staff phone for that because he was terrified on the road, america went so. i later met up with them. his tire blew out and that was the closest he came to die. but i could literally be the 50 stories from the romanian revolution do when he was what was then called zaire, where he was in war zones are tricky situations and almost lost his life. and then he also covered areas of the world were a few people
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had been, north korea, many people have been in iran but at the time that he went to iran it was very much off limits the places he went. and what i realized is he had been this foreign correspondent who travel to places not many people went, and he was able to bring a very unique perspective and bring his writing, his humor, his take on these faraway lands. and then when he became ill he basically traveled to this land of malady, as he put it, almost as if he were a foreign correspondent, reporting like a foreign correspondent on this new land he had arrived in. and though becoming very, very on having a potentially terminally, terminal disease or even having cancer is commonplace. the land he traveled to, and the
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foreign correspondent that he became in covering, and i think makes it a very unique perspective on this illness. >> he always had his wit, and sometimes needed it to get out of bold and brilliant together difficult situation. a couple months after september 11, he was in afghanistan, and he got out of his car, taxi because he saw some osama bin laden t-shirts on display and he wanted to buy some for his friends. so he bought half a dozen. then as he was doing this transaction, the mosque goes, and 500, furious zealous, young zealous, also element of all this is very frustrated young men, came pouring out of the
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mosque and surrounded him. he said in a foul atmosphere, sort of sonesta go, arousal. one of them pointed to osama bin laden, his image on a t-shirt and he said, he said what do you think? you like osama bin laden? and i know that i would've said something like well, i quite like them. [laughter] don't always approve of them. christopher said, he said osama bin laden is my brother, and they said he's your brother? and christopher said all men are my brothers. now, if you'll excuse me, please. [laughter] just right. >> been writing about his illness, i think what's striking about mortality them many people have written about illness and
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death and dying, but there's something, there's nothing in the book that's sacrafice or there's no false notes. i think the responses i've heard from the people who have read this book was one of great truth, was very a firming. is a very positive book and has said that because it is, i think the odyssey in it is sort of the inspiring to people. what was fascinating also, i would love your take on this, is how the writing changes over the course of the book in the beginning he's got this sort of distant objective look at what's happening, clinical in some ways and he's reporting on his illness. as his illness advances and the book moves on, and as his body begins to have limitations, he begins to write from the body in a way that i hadn't seen quite as much as, it wasn't called for in much of the reporting he was doing but it became sort of
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visceral and very physical writing because he was limited by these things, and it's stunning to watch this happen over the course of the book. and it's so clear eyed about it. >> i think when it was route was writing it, this book doesn't have a logical and, he was going to write a different book with a different ending, he always taught this is just another road to at least a long remission, if not a cure. and the other thing is, i think you're right about how kind of visceral and physical his descriptions become, but, you know, martin, even though he might've been sitting in a hospital bed or the nurses were coming in, he was still keeping up his side of the conversation. he was still the life of the party, the cherry on top, really. and sort of the great host to all the visitors who came
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through. and was a place he wanted to be because he was, that's what it was. you would rather be in a hospital room with christopher, and you would be happy as good and interesting and profound a time as you might anywhere else on this planet, better to be there with him than, say, at a bar at the bel air hotel. don't you think that -- i'm not kind of revisiting that? >> no. one of his favorite, just i'm feeling kind of tags was what could be more agreeable. and who could be more agreeable, the best company on earth. but i don't know if i said this to you, carol, but i certainly said before that one thing that happens, i always thought his love of life was dear in my. i sort of respected it, slightly
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indicated. but when he died, and i hope this of the universe, when a loved friend dies, it seems to me that they bequeath you their love of life. and certainly for many months after his death, the world looked sort of tingly with, no doubt, sort of survivor hallucination and killed. but it sort of tangled. and you have a sacred duty to love life with the intensity they did because they can no longer do it. >> yeah, definitely. i'm a nature lover of life and i see no need for mortality, one of my arguments for christopher. but i had the. you had told me that and i had that experience. i also had a kind of retrospective regret that they hadn't been even more like a loving and vital, even though i'm, in it, i'm keen on life. but it does. you think you owe it to them. but it don't think we will ever measure up which is not a
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condemnation of our ability to live life to its fullest and love it. it's just the fact that he was so extraordinarily good at it. >> could we have some time for questions speak with sure. do you have a question or two? >> i want to open it up to these people. if you have a question please go to the mic. >> go ahead spent i was only quite grateful for him going after kissinger like he did. but his need to become contrary to the bad boys to me, overridden is good since. he ever have, show any attrition, regret for teaming up with a bully boy like bush? >> i was, i don't come he never was contrary just so they could
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continue this image that you suggest as a bad boy actually. he could've gone, he was at the oxford union, and when he was he would argue one side but he could as easily argue the other side. he was trained that way. that's the way his mind works. the dialect is what mattered to him. but the positions he took, even if you don't concur with him, or they seem to depart from a certain kind of left liberal position. in fact, he took them because he deleted them. he meant them, and he thought, and i agree with him in this but it doesn't matter what i think, they were consistent. that is, say what you might about iraq. he saw that as a liberation movement. he was an internationalist. he believed in bringing democracy to the world, and she thought the u.s. had been involved in iran and iraq and the most heinous and criminal way from the 1953 overthrow, i do have to give the whole
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history, and here, that it was an attempt to overthrow a terrible despot, unemployment rate the country. and bring a democratic movement. it may not have been executed well. it may have built. you may not agree with it but he really believed that, and that's why he supported it. it was not so that he could be contrary or to reliance of in a way that he would be perceived as unpredictable. so i don't think he ever tried to cultivate the bad boy image, and i don't think he was a bad boy. >> i will say that he did have a flutter for showmanship, and it wasn't lost on them with reputation. >> that's true. >> or he did say once the thought of preventive war gave him an erection. >> say what? >> the thought to prevent war gave him an erection. >> yeah if that's a bit speed i didn't remember that one.
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[laughter] but as for kissinger, i do think it's done with them because they have reissued his book and its more rub it now than it ever has been i think because official biography of kissinger is about to come out by niall ferguson. and i noticed the other they kissinger returned to harvard, or against the students had been all that thrilled to have him for some time. and ferguson wrote a piece in which he said it was a wonderful, the students welcomed kissinger back. they applauded him. they didn't hound him off the campus. it was as if the '60s never happen. it's just so wonderful. so keep an eye out for that book, and try and get hold of if you haven't read the trial of henry kissinger by christopher hitchens, which is a rebuttal to this authorized biography. >> hi. i was wondering for each of you, if you could, if you could pick
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out a common thread that runs at his entire, throughout his body of work. my impression is he very much cared to be genuine and to be accurate about -- what you think would be the common thread? >> well, we were asked this by charlie rose, and i thought the poet may be very good, he said he was basically a street fighting lefty. and i think it was sort of lefty passions that led him to endorse iraq. the idea of liberating, and he had a special passion and feeling for the kurds, and he had been a true beneficiaries of the invasion. i've always thought he had sort of an impulsiveness in his
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thinking that made him, as sometimes of his life successful to ideology. and they think, i always think your ideology should be no ideology. and until 1989, the collapse of the soviet union, i thought h. was very constrained in his writing because what he said to me, didn't like this thesis of my buddies had what is true, you do get tired of racing your scarred by duke's to defend trotsky. so he was susceptible to that. basically, almost the passion of a teenage boy for freedom and justice in that sort of street fighting lefty way. and the heat he would generate in his talk. when i went to a the occupied protest in tampa during the
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republican national convention, i thought this is something. i thought where is hitchens of this movement. where is that fire, that lefty heat. at such a time in american politics when all these democracies are being attacked by money and allies and sort of repression. it wasn't there. it had been bred out of the american youth. i remember this sort of passionate hitchens would giggle and when he felt justice was threatened. >> well, i think also he, many people believe of all his talents his oratory talents were perhaps his finest. and he's been referred to as perhaps the greatest orator of our generation. i don't know who a month you saw him speak, that he would love to have a room like this. he could probably get you to follow him anywhere.
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>> why do you think he never tried to write fiction? >> i often talked to my novelist friend, all of whom were riveted by christopher. and he certainly has, he had the phrase making ability. he could dream himself into another person, and he could, he had many of the prerequisites for it, but he said, i think he just didn't want to spend his time doing what we do, which is making up, imagining things, making up people. telling these artful lies, which is what we do. he was too straight for the. >> i would also say you could see the gift that would naturally lend itself toward
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narrative writing in the first chapter, the first three chapters of "hitch-22" in particular what he writes about his family history. i think standalone side the finest autobiography i've read anywhere spent also we wrote a couple of scripts together. he doesn't like doing that all that much but he was very inventive, and his dialogue was extorted. i think you're right, i think ultimately if you lived a long time he wanted to write about -- who knows what else. he was certainly interesting and literary examination, and just polemics and politics. who knows if he would've gotten around to it but i don't think he wanted, as you say, to spend that much time in having an imaginary universe. >> and fiction makes nothing happen. and it was always what he wrote, his rhetoric, his oratorical brilliance would bring about change. something has gone badly wrong
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with a novel, sort of interferes with the real-life. >> i want to pick up one quick thing on the issue, the common thread that runs through the work, where this idea, you do, liberty and liberation as you put it runs straight to but it wasn't only just for liberal causes because christopher would defend people who had opinions wildly opposed to his own, their right to profess those opinions. >> he loved the bill of rights and that's why he became an american citizen. >> one last question. >> good afternoon. i'm a local resident, and i was present at the temple israel debate, and i met attorney but i have never ever seen such blazing rhetorical skills.
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i just couldn't believe what i was hearing. especially the report about the wheelchair. on the other hand, i did see them on television one day, and he was plainly less than sober. he was really two sheets to the wind. wind. >> i never noticed that. [laughter] >> you know, i just, i couldn't believe that he was able to maintain his train of thought. i certainly couldn't have. i can't, i just can't, you know, so i was just reading, this is just a comment. i was just starting to read this at august the that just came out, the third volume of the churchill trilogy by william manchester. i think his name is paul read, and the first chapter deals with churchill plainly drunk most of
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the time he was working. he just kept drinking and drinking and working indicating. and it seemed to me that's what christopher did, with quite a lot of frequency. and i just wondered if you want to confirm or deny that? >> i would deny it. because he was almost never drunk. sometimes at 3 a.m., but almost never. he calibrated and he had his free lunch a drink and some wine with lunch and, he basically had a whole system for how much he would have. his mind was quite calm he was quite sober when he was writing. >> i know the purity you mean. i think it was after one of his more sort of controversial decisions, which was to out sid blumenthal, and i ring him up.
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he was getting a lot of pain from the, and i ring them up and i said, how are you? he said i'm living in a world of pain. this is been such an unpopular thing, and he believed it was right and he defended it. but again, this is part of this great appeal i think, not being on tv drunk. i saw him drunk, over 40 years i saw him drunk twice. >> and he was probably very tired. >> i was drunk a lot of times. several hundred times. but he was never drunk. >> i noticed coverage to a three times late at night in 25 years. >> i just wanted to comment about the rhetorical stores, very churchillian in my opinion. >> who cares what i think? >> what is your relationship? >> i often thought he had many things in common with churchill, including courage. and it was sad, i inverted that,
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he said i think like a genius, i write like a distinguished man, i talk like a child. i said hitchens is the other way around the he talks like a genius, writes like a distinguished member, thanks like -- off instead of churchill that he thought like a child. that his mind was sort of and around all over the place to post the rhetorical skills and the courage. >> i really do miss him. he was one of my heroes. >> thanks very much. thank you. let's give a hand to our panel. [applause] >> thank you to our authors, and the autographing area is to the right of the elevators as you leave this room.
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>> [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible conversations]
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>> [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv's live coverage, miami book fair international. you are just watching carol blue, cary goldstein and martyn amos talking about their erstwhile colleague, friend and husband, christopher hitchens. we are here and chapman hall, and carol blue is working her way back to our corner here at chapman hall where she'll be answering some of the facebook
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and twitter comments that we have received for her. we have a few minutes, if you do have a chance and you want to make a comment following this panel, go head and tweak it to us at booktv, or post on facebook.com/booktv. we will try to get to those. with several we want to ask are already. but if you have one we will try to take a minute and get that comment look at and answered as well. a lot of moving parts so it's a little difficult to check the social media sometimes while in the middle of an interview. but go ahead and give it a try and will try to get to it. reminder that we will be live all day again tomorrow here at miami, and you can check that full schedule at booktv.org. the full schedule for tomorrow, and everything you seem today by the way will be re- aired at midnight tonight.
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we will be back on the air at midnight. we are very pleased now to be joined here on booktv by carol blue who is now joining us to answer a couple of your comments. and we will put you right there. we appreciate it. perfect. just talking to come and that's great. we really appreciate your time. i want to begin with some facebook comments that we have received. and this is -- [inaudible] spent about you and christopher and this event. we're going to begin with this. she says i wish carol would tell how they met, their first date, something charming and romantic. when did she know her life had changed? >> shortly after meeting him, but i can't tell the story because each time i've tried to telecom which is just a few
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times, it holds less punch him in for me so i hope you'll excuse me if i keep it to myself. >> how long you married? >> we were married since 91 but we are together, it will be 24, 25 years coming up in february. we met around the time of salman rushdie's, the fat walk spent how many kids do you have? >> i have choose stepchildren, christopher's joe biden earlier marriage, and we have a daughter spent another facebook, we have received, and this is from matt and matt says, was christopher a where of the extent in which he inspired people to educate themselves a? >> maybe not come he may not know the extent of his influence in reach, but he did often run into, especially on college campuses. he would run into so many students who mentioned that he changed their life, quote unquote, because of his
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writings. i know that he really did have that effect, and continue to. i still hear from so many young people on different campuses that he's really changed the way that they thought. >> carol blue, it will be december, a full year that christopher has been gone. over all, what's this last year been like for you? >> l., it's very quiet, very silent as you can imagine. without him. i can't think what else to say. i understand why you ask it, but i think i need to get a little more distance on it before i can really -- before i can reveal that publicly spent in the afterword to "mortality," you wrote about finding scraps of paper all around the apartment and notes in books, et cetera. what's that like to find those? and do you have another
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potential book planned with all those notes a? >> people have talked about the various letters that were written to him and from him, and the notes and various writings unpublished. so i don't know, eventually will get around to that. i can just say it's so, i may, two-thirds or three quarters of the books on the shelf half is rising in the backs of them but it's always wonderful to pull a book at the show and she is writing, as if he is speaking again. it's really fantastic. and i found other, tons and tons, stacks of paper with notes i hadn't seen before when i screened the papers, the books away from the windows in preparation for the storm that never came to washington. >> in "mortality," did you also write this, you mentioned that toward the end of his life, and she put these in "mortality" just sentences, or just a short paragraph, or just words that christopher was writing.
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>> yeah, i mean come he was completely with it until the last day of his life. and could have written a story for a magazine. it just happens that he was riding on a hospital tray and typing instead of writing longhand because he had come his arm was swollen from various ids pashtun ids. the writings were just those notes he was riding in that particular day in the hospital spent one of the tweet we received comes from the norwalk, connecticut, library, and they say thank you for writing the afterwards. you offer a new perspective on it. what was your goal with the afterwards? >> well, i was asked to do. i wasn't keen to. but i wanted to do it because it was the right thing to do. i was asked to reveal some sight of christer, perhaps he had revealed about himself. but i want to maintain the
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privacy of our family and protect our children's privacy. so was trying to figure out how i could get something intimate of myself about christopher that would also basically keep us out of the public realm. and i think, i think i cheated at so that's what i was trying to spend why weren't you eager to write a? >> it was so soon. i just, i wasn't really ready to contemplate him in that way for public consumption. but in the end, i tried not to antagonize but the end kind of came spilling out over a couple hours, i said it was christopher writing it. >> let me go back to the comments. we have another one i wanted to ask you about. this comes from sharon, and sharon says, i would never miss a chance to see a debate on interview with christopher hitchens, though i agreed with him only about 50% of the time. >> that's the ultimate compliment, don't you think?
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>> did you get that a lot from people? i don't agree with you but i enjoy watching you? >> people i think admired his craft and his technique and his brilliance at oratory. >> and sharon goes on to say the world lost a great mind with his passing. >> yes. >> and here are some twitter comments, and the and i apologize for stepping away and leaving our guest, carol blue alone by herself for a minute because i could get you to stand with her so the camera can see us and people can see is that this is stephen on twitter. you address this old in your speech but if you could expand, why didn't hitchens move to the u.s.? to advance his career, or did he feel a sense of mission towards spreading his ideas speak as well, no. initially he can come he always had been, he writes about in his memoir how he had always been drawn in by america, and he came right after oxford, he was awarded a special scholarship that allowed him to travel around america and he went from the east coast all the way to
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the west coast and back through the stuff that he felt a deep affinity for. perhaps because of the founders riding, pain and jefferson, had taken various it was. he always felt, he said this this role subconscious pull. but he can't because the picture of the nation proposed a swap between himself and an american writer at the nation. so that -- and christopher came here, once having arrived the nation, never wanted to leave the nation or america, although ultimate he left the nation. >> and "hitch-22" the right to his naturalization, taking the citizenship test. did you go with him for that serve a? >> i saw him study -- i was at the ceremony by a separate small ceremony at the jefferson memorial, and is conducted on april 13, christopher's birthday which also happens to have been jefferson's birthday. so it's kind of marvelous.
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but i notice, i gave you my constitutional law book from my berkeley days in a steady the constitution and really memorized it. and that was fun. >> where did you grow up question mentioned berkeley. where did you go to school? what's your background? >> i grew up where stanford california is and i went to berkeley to get away from stanford. i study political theory and then i was hired by a man i was working for as an assistant why was a student, robert, who at that time, he brought in and worked there for a while. i guess the rest is in history but anyway, that's a bit of early backer spent and i want to get in this comment from jill. jill tweets in, what influence do you think mr. hitchens writing had on shaping women's history in america and the
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world? >> i'm not sure i know that he was the most egalitarian, seriously a bloke i have a new. he was absolutely, he thought of women and men as complete equals. he wrote a piece for "vanity fair," why women aren't funny. at it was one more assignment and he wrote it. and if you actually read it, it doesn't actually, the article doesn't say what the title might imply. he was so nonsexist for a guy who was such a man's man, and so loved by women. he was very charismatic. women adored him, but he didn't let the sexual card at all. so i don't know what, i don't know if he has a place in quote women's history per se, but just in the liberation come he would have would have thought of a better law was made since. he would never think women should make less than a man.
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something like the. but i don't think, i think maybe there's just, that's it. i've nothing to say more about it. >> just a couple more then we will let you go. this is james. i loved christopher so much. i always wanted to call him up on the phone. at the end, did he say any prayers or call a priest? >> no. it didn't even come up. we were talking about poetry and various other things. nobody thought of it. it just didn't even register, sorry to say. and i want to say that, i was thinking of -- if you look, he really talked about women's rights as it pertained to the mideast and various backward religious practices that treated women as lesser citizens. >> carol blue, she has written the afterwards to her husband's
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book, "mortality." here is the book. and, finally, carol blue, when was this picture taken on the back? >> that was just a few months before he died. i'm not that thrilled with it. he looks so sad, doesn't he? if he still looks really handsome. >> carol blue, thank you for joining us here on booktv. we appreciate it. and i've been at this for hours. i think i sounded like a teen he bopper jerk. but anyway, thanks for having me. >> booktv now for the last 20 minutes talking to you, and your first question is was that live? well, we appreciate your time very much. >> thanks for having me. >> it was a pleasure meeting you. that was carol blue, christopher hitchens would do. unscripted as you can see right there. well, we are here at chapman auditorium. there's one more event in your
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today, and that's bill o'reilly talking about his book, our plan was to come in and bringing to you live. however, mr. o'reilly has prohibited booktv from being in the room with him. so we will not be bringing you that live today. now, we want to let you know that we will be live again tomorrow, and here very quickly as a book at tomorrow's schedule. james patterson, beginning at noon, the novelist, the thrill rider. he's going to be here. is one of the top selling authors in all of the united states. he will be here beginning at noon but he will be talking specifically about a reading program that he has started. so we'll bring you james patterson live. following james patterson, a panel with three authors.
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>> just to let you know, later on in the day, neil barofsky will be doing a call in with us from our booktv said and david menace will be doing a facebook chat with us. and by way, that is both our facebook page right now. facebook.com/booktv. you can go and if you the comment or question for david maraniss, you can go ahead and post that. tomorrow afternoon he will respond to those comments. those three will be on a war memoir panel. and we have neil barofsky letter
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for a call-in, followed by colin with a woman named reyna grande. >> that will all be on our program tomorrow, live from the miami book fair. so that's what we have for you. and we appreciate your watching us today, and we will see tomorrow live from miami. >> here's a look at some books that are being published this week.
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>> next on booktv, greg lukianoff argues that america's
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university and college campuses stifle free speech and discourage students from holding unpopular views. the author contends that this and violent as increase the country's political fissures and decrease civil discourse. it's about 45 minutes. >> thanks so much for having me. i was actually at the first conference. we had randy barnett speaking over there and it was exciting to be here for the inauguration of students for liberty as a formal organization. so i'm just going to start a little bit of a personal. i'm having a big month right now and just wanted to let you, some of your friends among and some of you will be, i just got married on the 12th. [applause] >> i have a book come out on tuesday called "unlearning
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liberty: campus censorship and the end of american debate." and i'm living right after this -- leaving right after this for my 20th high school reunion. i'm here to talk about the book, and how free speech is curtailed on the modern american campus and how i believe this harms us all, whether we are on campus or not. so why did i write it? i wrote "unlearning liberty" because i went to law school, i went to stanford specifically to study first amendment law. it's been a passion of mind my entire life. i believe -- i have a russian father and a british mother and i definitely came from that background realizing that everybody got to say what they want to under the circumstance. the idea that like it the government could decide what you said, so if my mom or my dad is in charge. so generally april was to society, free speech should be the rule. i've always believed that. so the history of first amendment law, i took every class at stanford offer.
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i did six additional credits of my own design on the history of the freedom of speech. and despite all of that, i was utterly unprepared for the kind of cases i would see on college campuses. utterly unprepared. and i'll talk a little bit about this but and this was one of the main reasons why i wrote the book because i feel like, put it somewhat crude, i feel like i was banging my head against the wall. i was writing for the "huffington post" since 2007, and i started getting people coming back to me saying sure, students get in trouble for almost anything, campuses a speech code and sure, people don't talk to each other because they are afraid of getting in trouble. sure, what's the big deal? and i just found that a terrifying question to be asked. and "unlearning liberty" is my response to the argument of why it matters. to begin, what i'm talking
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about, the book opens with example of haim barnes. environmental and student, decorated dmt, we study the same kind of buddhism. is a believer and nonaggression and he's an environmentalist. he was protesting a parking garage for environmental reasons on campus. he thought that it was more unfriendly ways to do with the traffic congestion problem on campus so he wrote an op-ed about it and he rode the board of regents about and history much anchored the university president. apparently a couple years before something similar had happened and to stop him from getting his passion project, this parking garage establish. so he had hayden come to his office, dressed in their, told him how could you be doing this to me, and really gave it to the
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students are really just being a responsible citizen, letting his opinion be known. this was in georgia, a public university bound by the first amendment. little did haden know that the president started looking into his back and. this all came out in discovery during the case. the president ordered a look into hayden's religion, that they look into the psychological record, that they looking to his medical records, makes the case for punishing the student or kicking them out. hayden was a little bit upset that he got such a bad dressing down by the president, and so in protest he made a collage. he made a collage that he put on facebook that included asthma puffer, no blood for oil, crushed earth, you know, all the consequences he thought would happen with this parking garage. and he calls it is safe, the environmentalist group that he
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thought was falling down on the job, zachariah memorial parking garage. the joke being that this president thought this is going to be part of his legacy, his memorial. the university, as i said, zachariah was already looking for an excuse to kk out of school. he slips a note on the university slips a note under hayden's door claiming that this proved, the collage attached to them this proved that hayden was not a clear and present danger to campus. the collage stapled to the note, and if anybody really wants to take us who say they thought the student was a threat, gain, decorated dmt, believe, non-aggressor, not a threat, but they didn't even believe he was a threat because he thinks what is about to go postal, you don't slip a note under his door and tell him to be out. so that case opens the book, but one level it's spectacular and
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is still going on, of course by the way. another level, what i've gotten used to at universities. i also talked at length in the book about a case at the university of delaware. i really recommend you read it because it's one of the most invasive programs i've ever seen. the university thought it was on the right side of history on the right side of the moral issues. they defended to this day. it included a mandatory program, they had to go to where you would stand on one wall if you believed, issued this opinion about social security, or if this opinion about welfare, your disagreement about them and at what they did the other opinion. they even have mandatory questionnaires about what racism and sexism would date, you had to fill a and what one young freshmen responded, that's none of your damn business. they wrote her up. and i can't do that case justice. i spent about half the chapter
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on university delaware. but excited, another thing that happened this week is i had my first article in "the new york times." that happened on thursday. and the neocons would want me to focus on elite colleges, so i just, that's easy. i had a whole chapter on yale and harvard. but i mentioned one case, since i'm so used to these cases at this point, i was kind of surprised how powerful the response was. this was a case, harvard and yale, the game, and that's when harvard place yale in football. to me this is kind of funny because they make it a big do. they like to make fun of each other and they have pretty crude slogan plastered on t-shirts to make fun of each of. one of them was you can't spell harvard without vd. [laughter] spent an so that's -- in 2009, however, they decide to go real highbrow. they took a quote from 1920 book
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at f. scott fitzgerald, and the full quote is, i believe i'll harvard men, very pretentious, like a lot of of scott fitzgerald characters. it's funny why i am going to princeton. they put all harvard men are sissies, f. scott its journal, we agree. so the father went highbrow in this fight and they were banned from having his t-shirt because someone claimed this was meant to be an anti-gay slur. now, that's not the way it was meant in the book. it was, he would be saying all harvard men are gay, like i used to be, which is not what that scott fitzgerald was angry but most of all, help me out here. i'm not as young as i used to be. but to my notion anybody under the age of like 50 is using the word sissy is making an agonistic jokers like calling someone a cat. if i call it in by a nose
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consequences, they're making about themselves. but they were nonetheless banned from having this on a t-shirt. at younger, a private university. but the promises in his contractual promises to students that you shouldn't be allowed to mention the unmentionable and think the unthinkable and say the unsayable, is really stirring free speech like this. but the trend for quote was a bridge too far. people really took notice of that in that piece. i also had a piece at the same time, my first piece on breitbart.com. but a lot of people have an article in new times and breitbart the same day. make a point of the presidential debates took place at universities including oscar that a pretty ridiculous speech codes. and i had some fun pointing out that if you were to apply to the presidential candidates by the plainly which of these codes, they all could of gotten in trouble. and i made the argument that
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probably surprised people that i wish they enforce them against the candidates because the reason why speech codes are able to survive is because they're kept in a backdoor for when they're needed if they really were applied across the board, they would us today because, frankly, the way these things are so broadly worded, that everybody is guilty of violating them. and i assume most of you know this but i just want to be very clear, the law is extremely protective of the free speech rights of college students. extremely protective. obvious the american law is extremely protective of free speech, period. but on campuses in particular. cases coming out in the 1970s, the supreme court was very clear that universities cannot restrict even highly offensive speech on campus. this is very clearly established. there's even been over a dozen i think legal opinions and dozens of challenges of campus speech
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codes over the past several decades and every single one of them has been successful. every single one of them has been told universities have been enforced by accord of law to of and the speech could is 5% of campuses, of the 392 campuses, top campuses we surveyed at her most recent study maintain speech codes that it is unconstitutional public colleges or private colleges violate their own initial promises of freedom of speech. ..
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everyone of you is guilty of doing this at some point. until we actually got the hope of the libertarian group with a group that included the definition inconsiderate jokes and inappropriately direct laughter. [laughter] where does you direct a? everybody's guilty guilty of that. i love the ones that sounded taurean because they do feel it the parallel between the campus speech codes and big touring era are very strong. florida gulf university has been
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stations deemed inappropriate. just amazing. i could go on and i do go on at great length about this. do check out the book. then it comes to my wacky political cases of one of the most classic ones was the case at indiana were student of nontraditional issues punished. he was found guilty of racial harassment because he was publicly reading a book. the book was called notre dame versus the clean. it was about the defeat of the cleaned when they marched under team. but because of a picture picture of a rally on the cover he was found guilty of racial harassment because it made somebody uncomfortable. he said it's actually an anti-clinton book. it didn't matter. someone was offended and that's all that mattered.
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it also applies to the flood of political speech. we had the houston state university case, free speech wall made to tear it down. we worked with them as a fellow on that. and of course is the phenomenon of free speech zones, which a lot of students don't know about. free-speech zones restrict freedom of speech. one of my early experiences fighting these was at texas tech university were 20,000 students, physically one of the largest universities in the country contact the antiwar students who wanted to every protest of what would be the iraq war before it started. they were told they had to get into a 20-foot wide boom, the only place for free speech at
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the dan campus. 28,000 students in a gazebo. i have a friend with a math math degree from m.i.t. and he worked out of to pervade all 28,000 students wish to express themselves at once you have to crush them to the density. i remember laughing at this picture is very serious. [laughter] universities are love reasonable time restrictions. instead of the restrictions. instead of the study, disrupt, they always have the power. there's nothing reasonable about telling people their speech rights are stripped to do a 20-foot white gazebo. more recently we were with young americans for liberty on this case. the university of cincinnati -- this is just this summer. they had a speech sound was only
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.1% of the entire campus. .1% of the entire public campus and you had to apply 10 days in advance if you wish to protest on campus. a group wanted to circulate a right to work titian was a part of a ballot initiative that is time sensitive. they asked if they do it but since they didn't apply within 10 days, they were told they were not allowed and warned that they were seen walking around campus the police would be called. it's even worse called. it's even worse because this has only been enforced selectively. even worse in terms of constitutional law. probably the most disturbing about the cases the university of cincinnati this year and 2012 decided were going to defend. i don't think anybody here would
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say that's constitutional. i don't think anyone would say that. we think it had something to do with the very unwise steps by the ohio government to see% in the $200,000 allocated to fight the litigation. it was like without that money was i so spend it. but spending state money to defend the bill of rights against students. think that through. it's why we put the fear this happens all the time. but one of the scariest things is people of gotten used to this stuff. people are kind of like to tell this to students and they say it sounds kind of bad but i keep my nose clean. i talked to my friends who where do you agree with, everything is fine. so whether you've been a victim
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harms us all. the first reason is the chilling effect. the chilling effect is the idea that university risk of the kid in trouble for you opinion. 999 people out of a thousand will there. you will have the experience of an opinionated professor that washed even bother debating the sky? there's no point. they're like i'm going to debate the sky. but not everybody is like that. and so students have to worry about talking about import issues and they do. there's not a single hot button issue in america right now that i can make you do at least one come usually several examples of some and get the travel for being on the quote, unquote wrong side of the.
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there's this phenomena of pressers i've been writing about called the silent classroom phenomenon. eight patients don't eight patients don't have very much in class. i've been reading articles about this for 10 years now, actually 12 years now. and it never comes up that this type of students actually get in trouble for having one op havinn on campus that has something to do with why they are little more reticent to speak their mind. there's also the they amazing american association that limit the number -- and this is setting 24,000 students in something like 9000 faculty staff in "the new york times" went with what i considered the most romantic number when asked the question, do you think it is safe to hold unpopular positions on campus? think about how weak that languages, only 35% of all
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college students. and by the way if you only kind of think it is sort of save to hold unpopular position on campus, that means you don't. the 35% came out of that the 45% of freshmen came in. of course it's safe to hold unpopular views on campus. but it went down by 10%. it went down every single year. the freshmen with the most optimistic. only 30% strongly agreed with the statement that it's safe to hold unpopular positions on campus. guess what? university professors who asked this question, too. 16.7%, only 16.7% of college professors strongly agree with the statement that it is safe to hold unpopular views on campus. something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
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i also make the argument in the book that this leads to no critical thinking skills. it at least contributes to it. if you don't have to debate and talk of positions come you tend not to understand them very well. it's the whole reason i love coming to events like this because i get such great students without debate and discussion and it's a quality you really have to maintain. this is something john stuart mill was warning us about in his book on liberty. he talked about even if you're totally right and you happen to be the person whose every single person is 100% right, which again, congratulations, you still benefit from freedom of speech because you tend not to understand why you are right when you challenge opposing opinions. but he said was if we don't have to face opposing opinions can we
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tend to hold or police the same way people hold prejudices. they have them but they can't for the life explain why they believe what they believe. if feel like this is actually happening in society. i believe this is bleeding it to our larger society. and they make this argument. by all accounts we should live in a cold mage. more americans are college educated than i've ever been in american history. if colleges are doing their job in making that are critical thinkers over more nimble minded come able to take on opinions, better think issues through, we should be looking in the ultimate best time for american discourse. does anybody currently think we're living in a golden age? we should expect things to be better, but i think one of the fact is among many dissipating
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this is the fact universities are places where students are certain topics have to walk on eggshells. what ends up happening in this situation is not that people change their minds about what they believe. they just play it safe. they talk to people they are decree with. if there's one thing sociological research is clear on, if you live in an echo chamber, there's a lesson inability to understand where the other side is coming from. one of the things that is so frustrating about our society right now is with tightly packed herself at echo chambers. another piece of research in the book is the more educated you are the tighter your acre chamber is. phd's have the least. really genetic information. that's another reason why that is good because you like to speak out what you agree with
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them is something a whole society needs to learn. that's what universities need to be teaching. seek out the intelligent person you disagree with, but to a million miles away from that if you haven't even gotten past a level where you can get in trouble for having the quote, unquote wrong opinion. as a say in the very simply simply, the downstream result of poly censorship as it makes a solid but dumber. we end up not having the arguments we need to have in its legitimizing cheap dodges whether it's undefended or whether it's your political background or a purity test or someone what i call the book selective relativism and selective uptight. visceral tactics it got much to use to. the places that really protect our campuses in the second part
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of the reason for the title of the book, "unlearning liberty" is a more frightening part of this. i'm scared at how used to free speech zones students are. watching a debate on a college campus where students totally expected there should be a free speech zone and then proceed to say what kind of speech should be about? so even within the free speech zone. this is a terrible miseducation in the next generation. it doesn't bode well for the future of our right. students are being taught what a brilliant innovation free speech, freedom of conscience come into process, how much we owe to them. i'm afraid students are being educated in an environment that doesn't understand that very well either. i think alan charles, the cofounder said it best.
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a nation that does not educate their people not long endure the 30 and will not even when it costs. and i think that's happening. so before i take questions, i want to give you guys are homework if you choose to accept it. please read the book. this is for fire, for the cause of free speech on campus and i think even if you think you know this issue will come you'll be shocked by some of these pieces. my new wife is reading this and she was little afraid because she was afraid she might not like it but she's been raving insane i can't believe they did this to the student at north carolina. unlike awesome, my wife likes it but must be good. it's been very well received so far. there will be cases in there to make you angry, cases that horrify you and sometimes will make you laugh out loud because they're just that ridiculous.
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also check out your own policies which are one school at the fire got bored. we have a huge database, over 400 colleges across the universe -- a-alpha centauri. [laughter] so check out your own school policy. there's a good chance you got a red light. and most importantly, fight back. don't accept campus censorship is the new kernel. don't accept it. i've been so proud of the fellow groups for the fact they been putting up free speech policy that they get torn down by the way different campuses by students. but to make the point to listen, we're going to talk in the sky is not to follow. i think you'd be surprised how similar 90% of what we have to say actually is.
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the idea we should get rid of free speech because every so often you might be offended by something somebody says this is really small price to pay for a free society. so fight back. things are listening and then opening up to questions. please go to the microphone and keep the questions related to rates on campus. c-span is asked if you do have questions, go to the microphone. >> yes, sir, greg burris, college and new jersey. i want to talk about what we've been encountering which is students and administrators, not just writing these goes, but enforcing them -- it appears as a noble thing to do to take us on and say they are the do-gooders. save me from the do-gooders
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constantly. i wonder if you have any specific advice for students or administrators who are trying to hold the moral high ground. >> the longer homework is coalition to shun bush's speech at her campus freedom network conference a couple years ago. one of the most thoughtful promoters of freedom of speech. one of the points he makes, one of the points and make it in a democracy you don't need freedom of speech to protect popular mainstream points of view. democracy does that. you need freedom of speech to protect minority points of view. it has always been about protecting the oddball from the little guy for this century. never apologize for that. there's also the argument that some of these codes are very maternal a stick and they argue certain students are too weak to live with freedom.
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anybody who tells you you are too weak to live with freedom is not your friend. but then there's also for me, i made a point of not using a chronology of the word in the book because i wanted to make sure the race. there is nothing more arrogant than to assume that you know so much about the universe that you can decide what will come from. even that joke, even the crazy op-ed. i watched this happened at stanford. there is a conservative agitator who send e-mails, something about the second amendment making fun of stanford for being so anti-second amendment and produced a firestorm of discussion. people were quoting legal opinions from an 18th century that we've never heard of. people were quoting philosophers. i talk about my friends who been killed virgin inner-city high
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schools. other people talk about their experiences and it was a personal, meaty, deep discussion that we never would have had if not for that publication. and still at the end of it, someone wrote in saying that's why never should've said this in the first place. then you see which is happened here. were talking about things he never would've talked about otherwise. free speech has the moral fight high ground. i'm on the side of niceness instability. they'll never see that to them. >> hi, john peterson. i go to american university. >> that's my undergrad alma mater. >> white private colleges that has restrict good speakers codes. you chuck about the student code of conduct, but there's still a lot that's harder to make free
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speech is that universities. >> i don't spend to much time because i write so much about it. i have real clear religion of private colleges, but answer this question a lot. the first amendment applies to public colleges. it doesn't apply to private colleges. there's something called the leonard law that applies first amendment standards to california universities. private universities are bound by their own promise. so yell at harvard, the best schools in the country's promise freedom of speech in glowing language. for some forceful contracts in the states, particularly massachusetts and new york, by the way. but it's not just a legal enforceability, it is their moral power. believe me, i know this from experience, columbia, harvard, yale do not like being called out when they violate their own
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freedom of speech. american has been more shoulder sharkey about it. that's why did this to step up the argument. it is a harder road, but you hold them against their own values and his people within the university who know those codes are wrong. but it is a harder fight and definitely stay on the fire to help you fight. >> i'm also in american university. you've mentioned a lot about cases which have seriously violated free-speech laws and contractual agreement. can you name many universities that have model free speech codes which are paragons of the first amendment? >> it's funny because we were a colleges according to the system i came up with the made no idea but still be around when it was a tiny organization of red light coming to light, green light. so i tuck about 55%, it's worth
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a universities, which means really that. you're late means it could be a few but not the worst we've ever seen. we'll need something like 16 prima colleges. we only have 16 prima colleges right now that's a little disturbing but they do include darkness. and i think 10 is large and the efforts. dartmouth is large in the efforts of a bunch of alumni who got together to fight. so i can't point to university but has a model speech code. i can point to 16 you can look at to see what they're doing right. >> graininess actio ilene from cordova law school and i'm curious about a phenomenon in the past 10 years or so in which speakers are speaking unpopular viewpoints have been shouted
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down not by the administration but by unruly crowds. that had been at michigan some years ago. so is wondering what your position -- i know what your position is in principle, but what take to take on those incidents given its not the administration who writes the speech? >> i think it's pretty clear cut. it's like analogous to the u.s. government and there's a beautiful book called the people's darling privilege, which talks about 1837 when a mob of the original lovejoy who was an abolitionist killed him and destroyed his press because it didn't like what he had to say. he points out a moment in american history when they realize not only can the government not since you, but it also means they protect you from
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a mob that wants to send to you. when these events have been covered her main concern is to make sure the administration prevents them happy means they do their best prevented from happening because it's a dual responsibility. first the campuses not answer you. we'd be happy if they just had doing that. in addition they can't let him out since he. a perfect example of these two awful forces came to work as one and from the book. washington state university, a student wrote a play called the passion for musical with the stated goal of offending everybody. he put it on the ticket. he put it everywhere. do not, he'll be offended. an african-american student made a point of it. the university works with students who are angry about the content of the play. and again it's a musical comedy.
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they brought the three stooges tickets, told them to stand up and shout i'm offended which was ironic because that was the point of the play. but much worse. it turned into students shouting death threat, which is predict if he sent an angry mob to a play. the university president defended it the next day. they were saying this is a very responsible exercise of freedom of speech on the part of the angry mob of students and it's absolutely stunning they've got that. but mob censorship is still better than campuses. >> my name is steve clemons from waterloo ontario. i was wondering if you see any room for fire to expand into canada? as spoken in canada before. >> were you at the speech look
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familiar. i think there's a great group up in canada. my whole thing is i think the nonprofit is to spread itself too thin. it's sort of like people ask about what to do do work in high schools. i don't want her to expand to anything other than american campuses and free speech and due process and freedom of conscience issues because i think we dilute our effectiveness, but candidate definitely needs a fire. and if anybody wants to start a canadian fire, i am happy to get behind them and push. >> thank you. >> although, will test that i go to sir lawrence coll test that o to sir lawrence college. >> and most expensive college in the c >> although, will test that i go to sir lawrence college. >> and most expensive college in the country. >> yes, and not so great free speech codes. >> you get a lot for your money.
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>> i want to ask you specifically about health concerns when cited as the reason for censorship. people will bring up the fact that free speech may be triggering to folks who've gone through tremendous incidence or nearly are of a gender or race that could be offended by certain shamanic incidence and that is put forth as a reason for censorship. >> i really haven't run into the argument that often. i usually make fun of universities for the lack of creativity in coming up with excuses for censorship. that one is fairly new to me. the thing that i find worrisome is how they end up watering down things like medical reasons. there was a policy at ohio that said harassment takes place on a stretcher and that includes anything from off-color jokes to sexual assault. i remember being like okay come
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you can't make a personal distinction between a dirty joke and. i'm trying to point out this is not doing anyone any favors if you're going to cry wolf on such a threshold. so it is true. the first amendment and self-government require a minimal amount of toughness to be able to talk and live as free citizens does require on the part of our citizens. as i said, there's no need to apologize for that. i've time for one more question. >> good morning. i'm a graduate from university of columbia law school. so i wanted to shift focus a little bit to concentrate since you're talking about the receipt area of what you're seeing now is universities claiming to participate in a program. you either believe in a certain set of ideals our practice these
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morals. so i was wondering, how can students or alumni perhaps were to change those rules since it's slightly different than a free speech code you're talking about actual credentials. >> you're totally right in the eiji pointed out. it stuns me that i have to say this, but as bad as it is to tell people what they can't say, it is much worse to tell people what they have to say on what they have to believe. there's a whole chapter in the book talking about cases. some of the schools of education and social work where students were required to lobby the government for positions they do not believe and in order to graduate. it's absolutely startling. i think the best way to give fire in another plug, be in contact with us because we've been taken of columbia because at its teacher colleges has a
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commitment to social justice and its policy. when you say that, they go that nice. everybody believes in social justice. sure in your own way you believe in it. when you say to anybody outside of academia, how was that a political litmus test? there's no way you can evaluate commitment to social justice without evaluating what they believe politically and philosophically. so the good news is those kind of violations of conscience, even though universities and it just me away without that there's something so wrong with telling the student what they must believe in their heart. universities increasingly do not care whether so wrong. everybody else does. so public exposure really works in those cases. that's all the time i have. i'm heading to my 20th high school reunion. thanks so much for having me. [applause]
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>> mixed, mark bowden talks about his next book that killing and west point new york. following his remarks he responded to questions from cadets in the audience. it is about an hour. [applause] >> thanks. thanks for coming. i did a little tv interview earlier today they put makeup on me, say debate whether i should wash it off or not and i thought hey, why not just look fabulous
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for you. these author events are usually called readings i don't spend much time reading, but i did want to read a short passage from the beginning because it summarizes one of the central themes of the story. lieutenant general michael flynn, who now has the u.s. defense intelligence agency has said that information and intelligence are the fire and maneuver of the 21st century and those of you who are familiar with war fighting method in iraq and afghanistan pakistan now how important this has become. i'll talk a little bit more as we go along, but i want to review a passage about a raid in iraq called the singe our raid, where special operators seized
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the computer equivalent of a rolodex. the rolodex tracked 500 al qaeda suicide bombers or terrorists who had filtered into iraq through syria and the possession of this database, 500 individuals who blow themselves up or arrange for a terrorist attack was critical in the effort to take out qaeda in mesopotamia apart. the mother lode of documents seized from what has become know as the singe our raid illustrates the point nicely. the point being the one made by lieutenant general lewis or flame. in the six years after the 9/11 attacks, the u.s. military
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representing a wide variety of agencies, large and small, and those victorious in the secret had been collaborating on an unprecedented capability for crushing terrorist networks. in addition to skills of talented special operators the effort uses supercomputers and custom software, skilled analysts the ability to turn every kind of intel into searchable data weather tips or documents from old spy networks, transcripts, lots of electronic surveillance, monitoring coming communication between cell phones and computers are the images and sensor readings gathered by jones hovering high and silent over potential targets for days, weeks, months or years. with an enormous database of
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these fragments can a few of clearly related, computers are capable of finding leaks that would previously remain hidden. a bank account shared by hezbollah officials and al qaeda recruit. the street address visited by two known suicide bombers on two separate occasions. a snapshot from the wallet of a slain american soldier on the hard drive of a suspect a terrorist paymaster. it easily draws bloody ties between data points that would otherwise remain random and disconnected. web search on from these bloody threats eliminating secret networks. when such connections are made to special operators know where and whom to hit next. in the case of the hall, commander stanley mcchrystal took the surprising step of declassifying all the material and turning it over to west point combating terrorism so
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that analysts for variety of disciplines could take a crack at it. general mcchrystal will tell you he feels that data in some of the analysis produced working with that data was instrumental in the success that they had in 2008 in decapitating al qaeda's operations in iraq. violence levels in the country to 80% over the next eight to nine months and have not returned -- they've remained lower today than they were before we invaded in 2003. aubrey g one more quick passage. prevailing in more often demands utah takes, methods and tools. the attacks on america on september 11, 2001, challenged a long-standing premise of national defense. osama bin laden and his extremist movements, al qaeda posed a new kind of threat, a
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global network of well-funded, clever, suicidal triggers with no fixed address. the nation's vast arsenal of its nuclear stop piles and incomparable air force, army, navy, even the bureaucratic structure of global surveillance plane and intel analysis was designed primarily to deter, attack. who would dare with the response to be swift, fatal and unstoppable. but what if the attacks came from nowhere? what then? this was a problem posed by 9/11. dnc misinformation. finding the enemy has long been one of the most basic challenges of work. all al qaeda did was up the level of difficulty. they lived and worked scattered all over the world using global telecommunications. given the complexity and international nature of those links, and the use of pseudonyms and all the tricks of spy craft,
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how is this new enemy ever to be found? the seizure of the rolodex and the subsequent takedown shows how. six years after the 9/11 attacks, deep in the two wars, still haunted by the defiant image of a free osama bin laden that the united states of america had one strong consolation. it had figured out exactly how to fight back. when we talk about the raid that killed osama bin laden, i think that is the real story. it's the story of how the united states developed the capability of finding people who are very difficult to find and targeting them and finishing them. in 2003, when he was still a state senator in illinois, barack obama gave his speech, now a famous speech in chicago at an antiwar rally.
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the rally was against the pending invasion iraq and obama was a to speak against invading iraq. but he was uncomfortable because this is an antiwar rally and they were familiar antiwar types from the chicago area who show up at every antiwar rally and he felt out of place because even though he was supposed to invading iraq, the point of the speech was that he was not against all wars, did he believe some wars were necessary and just and he cited incidents in history where he thought that was the case. and then he said that he felt the appropriate target for the united states or the leaders of al qaeda, the men who planned the attacks on this country in 2001. and he said, i would take up arms against al qaeda myself.
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well, at that point, maybe he had dreams even then at 2003 of someday becoming president of the united states, but he certainly could never have envisioned how about office he would have essentially his finger on the trigger to an extent that most american presidents or no american presidents had except president bush at the end of his last term. the president of the united states is direct way involved in the fight against terrorism and in particular al qaeda to agree he would never have exactly imagined when he said he would like to take up arms themselves. now when you craft a story -- i've been writing stories for my whole life and they think when you start working as a reporter you go out and do a lot of reporting. writing the story as often as simple as emptying out on the page all of the things you've
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discovered. you gather a lot of information and then you try to organize and present all that information. once you are kind of passed that stage, you begin to realize that the art of telling the kinds of stories that i do demands that you digest all the material that you've gathered and think in terms of how to tell it. you ask yourself probably the most important question, which is what is the story about? you ask yourself, who are the essential care who's in this story? and what are the essential actions that move the story forward? you ask yourself simple questions like where does the story begins, where does this story and? that may sound like most people to think about true stories are writing history, it may seem like you don't have to make those decisions for yourself. in fact you do.
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history does not start and stop at any one p history does not start and stop at any one point. if we continue on. he was a writer or an historian have to make decisions about what is the story and plucking out of the stream of history and telling? who are the characters and writing about? what is the story and in what is this story really about? that's what i try to accomplish in this book, "the finish." to me this begins september 11, 2001. the first chapter of the book i relate the story of 9/11 through the eyes of a number of those who will be in on this story at the end, including barack obama, including michael morel, now deputy to the cia, but on september 11 was president bush's national security brief traveling to florida and given
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its morning briefing when all broke loose and he spent the day flying over the country with the president and gave a very unique perspective on how that day was perceived by the president of the united states and his inner circle. another main character in the story is admiral bill mccray then it was a navy seal commander in 2001, who had a severe parachuting accident. yet in his pelvis and he was really all broken up. get to the hospital for a while and got so bored being in the hospital, had him of his hospital bed into his home in san diego. so she was the gui and his hospital bed at home watching the television as the attacks of september 11 to place. this is a guy who spent his young life training and serving with field units who had risen
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to the point of demanding a trade. the fealty of six. he knew watching this attack the united states would be going toward producing a mm would be going to the war basically been left out. he was not in any condition even to walk at that point. it's interesting to see where he ends up 10 years later. so i began the story on september 11 because i think for my purposes that is where this all starts. to me, the raid that killed osama bin laden is fascinating and exciting as that was, that's the last 40 minutes of a 10 year long story. the story and the most remarkable piece of cake is the evolution of this capability of finding people, targeting people at all that has gone into it ane at all that has gone into it and in particular because the story of finding what illustrates how
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this all works, how osama bin laden was found. people ask me, why did it take 10 years to find osama bin laden? and the answer is it is more remarkable that they did find him. if you want to hide in today's world, you just cut yourself off completely from the telecommunications grid. you never call home to talk to telecommunications grid. you never call home to talk to anybody, any member of your family or in your past. you move to one spot, in this case the upper two floors of a house in a bona fide and you never leave. that's literally what osama did. there were people living on that compound who did not know that osama bin laden was living upstairs. that's how deep he buried himself. his only communication was with his subordinate was through
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millichap basically, where he would write long letters in the courier is a within their would take and give it to another carrier and another and pass it along until it got to its intended target. so that was a guy who was doing everything right in terms of not being found. as i said, it's truly remarkable they found him. the story is getting better as this remarkable fusion of intelligence and special operations that i described in that brief reading from the prologue and i talk about in the detail of the book. i mean, this doesn't air directly on finding bin laden himself, but i found fascinating this concept -- i don't know if you've heard about getting inside information cycle of your enemy.
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have any of you heard that? used to be less say in iraqi watch a special operations raid at a target in either kill him or capture him. within hours, everyone in that person circle, everyone in this network knows they've been compromised and they are gone. you know, they trash other cell phone and hard drives and they vanish. if you could get to them as secondary targets before they scatter, you've got inside the information cycle of your enemy. so how do you do that? you do that by linking special operators in the field with this computer database, with state-of-the-art software to search the database, to draw those lines that make this connection so you can sometimes within minutes of picking up a cell phone from the targeted house you just hit, you know not only were the primary contacts of that target were, but very
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quickly after that, where they are. and by that i don't just mean generally. i mean where they are right now. and you can go out and hit them before they are even aware that the primary target has been hit. that is the basic strategy that enables special operations to begin dismantling terrorist organizations inside iraq and what were trying to do in afghanistan and pakistan. it's one of the most remarkable stories of our time. now clearly we've got very good at this. what are the implications of that? one of the things that needs is that a lot of the action if he will in a war against terrorist organizations doesn't take base in afghanistan or pakistan. it takes place, as does a theme, in washington d.c. it takes place in cia
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headquarters of the pentagon and the white house. so it's funny for me to be writing a story about a military operation were 90% of the story takes place in washington d.c. but that is what the story actually unfolded. today, unique among presidents of the united states, president obama is almost daily giving a dossier on the targeted. this is someone who's in the crosshairs of the cia or the military and obama for direct or petraeus how to make a decision about whether to shoot at a target, whether to take that person out. i know presidents have to make critically important decision affecting thousands and hundreds of thousands of lives throughout the history of this country. but it seems to me to be a new development for the president at
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the united states to be decided on individual targets around the world on a regular basis. i think that is probably one of the most unique developments in modern war and kind of defines right at the nature of this war that we're fighting. obama, when he said that he was willing to personally take up arms against al qaeda is now quite literally to mean not. and since he has his finger on the trigger and has to make a decision every day almost whether to pull the trigger or not. one of the things that try to do in the book is show the evolution of his thinking because he's the guy making the call. now if you go back to 9/11 essay to put this book, obama was interviewed about his reaction to 9/11 shortly after it happened and his reaction was more like calling for a global welfare campaign.
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it's he said he felt the united states should be spending more money to change the hearts and minds of people throughout the middle east to address the underlying roots of islamist extremism and that he did mention that he thought it would be worthwhile to dismantle the terrorist organization. this is at the same time president bush sadie wants bin laden dead or alive. the majority of the american people were not thinking about dismantling al qaeda. they were thinking about trashing it, burning it, hanging it from the highbeam. clearly obama at that point was very much out of step with the way most americans felt about our response to 9/11. but if you look at speeches and writing of the next seven or eight years, you see someone first elected to the united states senate and began his run for the president he was
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beginning to grapple much more direct way that most of us ever have to with the implication of being responsible for national security, for making these kinds of decisions. i don't think it has been remarked on enough but it's extort very that when he was very prematurely aborted the nobel peace prize shortly after being elected president, he shows up at oslo before the nobel peace committee and delivers what i think is the only pro-war speech ever given an acceptance of the nobel peace prize. if you read the speech company argues the necessity of war. not just work, but necessity of american power and his responsibility to use american power in the world. i think that was a fairly remarkable speech. that coupled with the fact that he is clearly of german technology and remote targeting a suspected terrorist sense to
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me that a lot of people's expectations ass asserted a pact leaning president were misguided. nothing illustrates that were then his decision to go after osama bin laden. now when i talk about the characters in the story, you'll forgive me because i don't thing about these things in the way that scholars to her may be that you would doing an analysis for the military. i am a storyteller. so to me if interested in the arc of care nurse. so you've got admiral mccray then who goes from a wheelchair months after 9/11, who gets an opportunity to work in the white house as a consultant, probably because somebody is looking out for him because they know he can't perform physically anymore. as a result, starts thinking
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strategically, plus what is learned about special operations in his study of special ops to the problem of al qaeda. it is not by coincidence that he ends up becoming second-in-command and then succeeds general mcchrystal is the commander said that when the time comes to launch this mission against bin laden, it is mccray then his task with designing the mission presented to the president what he thinks his men can do if that's the option they decide to pursue. they're sort of a minor character in the story who fascinates me, ben rose, who were was 9/11 was a graduate student at nyu with terms of becoming a novelist. after the attacks of 9/11, his interests gravitated more towards the real-world. he became a speechwriter, worked on capitol hill, eventually went to work for obama.
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long story short, and zippy the person in the white house drafted a statement for the president about whether he was supposed to dress statements if they kill bin laden with the president was going to say if they failed and believe me there and believe me there was some seriously bad possibilities for much of this mission which had to be worked through and thought about in advance. he thought that was an interesting storyline for him. now michael burwell stories particularly interesting because he went from being president bush's brief her on 9/11 to rising in the ranks he became the chief analysis of the caa theater in bush's term. he will tell you he was one of those ultimately responsible for delivering the opinion that saddam hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction. now he regrets that is probably
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one of the biggest intelligence failures in american history and he takes ready responsibility for it. he tells that haunts him to this day and it haunted him as he took responsibility for assessing the intelligence over whether the target was bin laden. so the president who is trying to figure out in the initial stages of the story whether they actually have been not, whether they found him is getting estimates of the likelihood all over the map. he's got cia analysts telling him you're 95% sure that person hiding in the compound is but one. and it's got morel himself, the deputy director saying i would say 60%. and he's got analysts in the national center for counterterrorism who put estimates anywhere from 20% to
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40%. so he asks, how do you account for this? why is there such a wide variety of levels of certainty? archibald looking at the same information? morel said sir, it depends on your experience of life. these guys who work as analysts rate out have had a lot of success in recent years finding targets. they are very confident of their methods and very confident of their ability and that is reflected in how confident they are in this estimate. then you've got somebody like me, i've been wrong before. he told the president, i was more certain that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq than i am that this is osama bin laden. and given the way i've been burned, i don't care if i have an eyewitness who told me that mod is in the compound come you're not committed within a 60 the 60% assessment out of me.
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ultimately the president told me he just felt all these assigned levels of uncertainty amounted to efforts to disguise uncertainty and that he concluded that this was a 50/50 call and he was going to proceed on that basis and ultimately decided to launch the mission. now i think it's amazing that in retrospect you heard all kinds of people say this is a decision anyone would've made in the white house and i'm not here as an apologist for obama. the only thing i'm qualified to speak about in any detail is the way he handled this particular episode. and i can tell you this is not an easy call in the white house. they're a couple aspects i thought were particularly gutsy. one is ultimately the two options that he weighed for firing a small missile at the target, this man they called the
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pacer, who they could observe walking around inside the compound. a small missile disguise my forearm from a drone so small they would never do it for a back. there's no downside, no risk to this option. no american forces are put in jeopardy. it's a very reliable but the end that had a lot of success with it. but it is a fire and forget missile. so it's going to have to coordinate you give it. so there's a chance scituate not going to hit the target. that is the only downside of this option. ..
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>> sending a squadron of seals into pakistan, when you start to think about all the ways that that could have gone to hell, it's scary. and believe me, they had to think about all the ways that this could go to hell. for one thing, you're putting american lives at risk. you're putting these seals at risk of getting wounded or killed in a fight at this compound. then what happens if they're there, and they get bogged down? suppose they search the house, they've got a bunch of women that they've captured who, essentially, tell them that bin laden lives there, but today don't find him anywhere. where is he? well, then they've got to start -- and they've innerred
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this. -- encountered this. they end up bogged down on the site. and the pakistani military wakes up. suddenly you've got this small force now surrounded. what are they going to do? this is a major international incident in the making. and interestingly, admiral mcraven's proposal to the president was if that were to happen, we think we should hunker down in the compound and hold our position and wait for washington to negotiate our extraction. and the president said, no, i'm not leaving those men in that position. if you go, you need to be prepared to fight, we need to be prepared for you to fight your way out. if you go in, you are coming out. we're not going to work things out with pakistan. so the mission was beefed up so that they brought in dave petraeus who at that point was commanding all forces in afghanistan, and they had back-up forces on the ready parked just across the border in
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afghanistan ready to come in and fight. they had air force jets on alert to come in and escort those helicopters out of pakistan if they had to. in other words, the president embraced as part of this decision going to war with pakistan, at least over this one particular episode. now, one of the things that they have to do in the white house is they have to think through all these options. what are we going to do if we end up shooting down pakistani planes or if we're in a fire fight with the pakistani army in abbottabad, you know? we're throwing all these forces in. how do we explain this to our allies? who do we call first? you know, what do we tell the press is going on? all these things have to be very deliberately thought through, so it's not like the president is sitting there and hasn't considered all the ways that this could really go bad. despite all that, the decision to send in the seals was made for the reason that they bammed
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to make -- they wanted to make sure if they were taking this risk, that they were going after the right target, and the only way to know for sure was to have men on the ground. and the other was that there would be viable, important intelligence at that site that they wanted to pick up. thirdly, admiral mcraven, who has literally commanded thousands of missions like these, reassuring the president that, sir, we can do this. we can get in, and we can get out before, you know, pakistan forces are aroused. and ultimately, as much as obama is characterized as this cool, kind of academic mind, he told me that the decision came down to his confidence in mcraven. he could feel and trusted that mcraven had a lot of experience with this and had reassured him that they could get in, and they could get out. so that was the decision that was made, and we all know the end story.
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i do think it's interesting in this age of -- talking about information, the white house was busy weighing in the situation room whether or not to announce that they had killed bin laden that sunday night or wait until monday morning when they would get dna confirmation, because they could imagine the embarrassment of making an announcement that you just killed bin laden, and it turns out that you hadn't. while they were debating this, as it happened, i was out in los angeles watching the sunday night baseball game between my phillies and the mets, and the crowd at the park starts chanting usa, usa. and the announcer comes on to say, well, we understand the united states has killed osama bin laden. this an hour and a half the president walked out to announce it to the world. so the notion that they could somehow weigh the timing of releasing this information was ludicrous in today's day and age. because, you know, what happens is as the number of people who
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know the truth begins to grow and as soon as those seals set down in jalalabad with the body, you know, there were a lot of folks there who were in and around the facility who got wind of what had just happened, and the tweets start tweeting, you know? and the facebook posts start posting. and before long they're chanting at citizens bank park in philadelphia, so let that be a lesson to those who want to manage information in today's world. one last thing, you know, i've been doing this for about 40 years. i think this is one of the cool stories i've ever had the opportunity to write. for me to be able to sit town with the president -- sit down with the president and pick his mind about this was a rare opportunity. being the pro i am, i brought along my tape recorder and had my questions all lined up, i knew i'd had a limited amount of time, and i figure ld, well, this guy's really a talker, so if he gets off on a tan gent,
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how do you say, excuse me, mr. president, could you get back on task here? but i never had to. he understood what i was trying to do. he was extremely direct and helpful and concise in his answers. but as we finished the interview, i looked down, and my tape recorder had failed. it had gone dead at some point. this had never happened to me before. i've been a reporter for 40 years, and ordinarily when i interview someone and record it, i'll be checking the tape recorder periodically throughout the conversation to make sure it's still humming along, you know? in this case i have to admit because it was the president, i was a little preoccupied with the conversation and with the eye contact and neglected to check down there, and so that sucker had quit, i ended up finding out later five minutes into our conversation. clearly, the most important interview i've got for this book, arguably one of the more important ones i've ever done, and, boy, talk about an expert
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recorder, huh? [laughter] ben reid was there, and i was panicked. i said, you know, my recorder died at some point. and he said, ah, don't worry, we'll get you a transcript before you leave. [laughter] thank you very much. i'll take questions if anybody has any. i think he wants to give you a microphone. we're going to be on booktv also. >> [inaudible] information coming out about this raid and other intelligence coups we've had in the war on terror. as a journalist, i'm sure you don't mind information coming to you to be able to do things like this, but do you find -- where's the balance between publicizing success but also protecting operational integrity and future operations in this fight against -- as you said, where information is the firing
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maneuver of this century. >> right. well, i think that's a responsibility i have as a journalist. and i can tell you, i'm pretty good at this, and i worked on the story from the day bin laden was killed. and that would have been a problem if someone had leaked me something, you know, someone dropped documents on my lap that i shouldn't have or, you know, called me surreptitiously to say, hey, this is what really happened. then that problem i would have to deal with. as it happens, nobody leaked me anything in this story, much to my chagrin and disappointment. [laughter] and here's the deal, you know, and that's often not the case. i mean, people have, i think, an exaggerated notion of how often that happens. it doesn't. but, i mean, i feel like there's a very valid and powerful conflict in our society between my role as a journalist and, say, your role as a military officer who has taken an oath and has a legal responsibility
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if not just a moral one to protect secret secrets. so if i knock on david petraeus' door and we sit down and talk, which we did for this book, i know he knows better than i do what information needs to be protected and what doesn't. i trust that he's not going to willy-nilly tell me things that he shouldn't be telling me. and he might occasionally say to me, okay, i'll tell you this off the record, or i'll tell you this, but you need to come back at me on this to see if you can use it. and i do that. i treat people honestly. i don't spend a lot of time worrying at that point about whether i'm spilling secrets. they know better than i do, you know, whether what they've told me should or shouldn't be printed. they know i'm only there for one reason. we're not there chatting over lunch, i'm going to write this up. especially when you're dealing with high levels at the pentagon
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and cia, they're very savvy about talking to reporters. there have only been one or two times in my career when i've had information withheld there the request of a source, and i have in some instances gone back and said are you sure it's okay to write about this? my only concern is not to jeopardize anyone's lives and not to blow any ongoing operations. but beyond that i feel like i take my responsibility seriously. i think in a democracy we need to know as citizens what our government is doing and how it's doing it to the extent that we can o know that. because we, ultimately, will make the decision about what direction we want to go and whether we want to approve or disapprove of actions that we're taking. so my job is to try to find out as much as i can. once i was invited to give a talk at a cia conference. they asked me to come talk to them about the battle of mogadishu, which i thought was kind of scary, them calling a
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newspaper reporter about one to have more significant conflicts they've been engaged in in recent years. so i said, sure, i'll come out and talk about it. and i got a call back the next day from the same guy, and he said i forgot to ask you what your security clearance is. i said, you've got to be killing, i would have a negative security clearance, i'm a journalist. [laughter] and that's pretty much the way i see it. >> sir, as you know you mentioned, touched on it briefly drones a iley-debated -- highly-debated topic now in u.n., politics domestically. how do you weigh in on the ethics of using drones, and then a second question. after the successful kill of osama bin laden, do you feel al-qaeda is more or less defeated? >> okay. good questions, both. on the subject of drones, i think they're the most
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significant advance in humanitarian warfare in history. and i think that because the three principles of a just war are necessity, determination and proportionality. necessity meaning are the people you're fighting, do you need to fight them. i mean, is there some way we can deal with osama bin laden and al-zawahiri other than shooting at them or capturing them? i come down pretty strongly on the side, no, these are irreconcilables. so the next two questions are making sure that you're targeting the right people and that you're striking targets with the level of force that is required and no more. right? so now think about it. drones give you more than any tool in human history the ability to observe carefully a target, to make sure you're hitting the right target. which doesn't mean they don't make mistakes. but it does mean you have a
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better chance of reaching that 100% goal with a drop than you do fire -- with a drone than you do firing a shell or dropping a bomb or a missile. and thirdly, proportionality. you can gauge as they tried to in this mission with bin laden. one of the options presented initially was just to bomb that comet pound to smithereens -- compound to myth leans. it would have killed every man, woman, dog, chicken and goat within a 500-yard radius. it would have left a big, smoking hole in the middle of abbottabad, and much to the president's credit, he dismissed that immediately. that was an overwhelming use of force to try to target one individual. so i think drones, as i staid, are a major advancement advancen humanitarian warfare. there is a scary side to drones, though, and that is if countries can single out and target individuals for assassination,
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basically, without any risk to their own personnel, without any significant, direct risk in firing that shot, it makes it a temptingly easy thing to do. and as of now the cia and the white house -- and i asked the president about this directly -- have not made public the due process that they follow to determine who is a legitimate target. how do we decide whether it's appropriate to pull the trigger in this instance? so my only criticism of the drone program is i think we need to become a little more transparent about how we arrive at these decisions and how, you know, how those decisions are made. because, again, i think in a democracy it's very important for the public to understand, you know, what our government is doing in our name. so that would be my only, at this point, my only criticism of it. the second part of your question about al-qaeda, there's a lot
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of confusion about al-qaeda because all these little islamist militias throughout the middle east are flying the al-qaeda flag now, and they do that to aggrandize themselves and to attract recruits. but these folks are no more capable of pulling off something like 9/11 than my local kiwanis club. i can get together with the guys down the street and start flying the marine corps flag in my card with, but that -- in my yard, but that doesn't make me capable of invading taiwan. the organization that put together the attacks on 9/11 was an extraordinarily sophisticated one that spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars, that recruited suicide bombers or hijackers from all over the world, transported them to the united states, got them flight training, steered them all onto those aircraft at the precisely-coordinated times. that was one of the most extraordinarily sophisticated terrorist operations in history. that organization is all but
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dead, in my opinion, and not just my opinion. i think, in fact, it was all but dead when bin laden was killed. but i do think the death of bin laden was a capstone on that effort. and, frankly, it's one of the reasons i call this book "the finish." both because the strategy is find, fix and finish, and so this is the finish piece of it, but also i think this was the finish to that al-qaeda. the problem of terrorism is never going to go away, but unless we fall asleep at the switch, these kind of organizations are, there are fewer of them today than there were ten years ago. you're welcome. >> major sam cook. i would just like to ask you, you wrote a very interesting editorial, um, recently on the politicization of the osama bin laden mission, and there's
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been, obviously, a lot of criticism in an length year about that. -- in an election year about that. could you restate what you wrote in that article and look at why these claims are so prevalent out there and why you don't agree with them? >> are you talking about the piece i wrote about the myths surrounding the mission? >> yes. >> yeah. well, in the days after bin laden was killed, there was an understandable level of excitement at the white house and the cia and the pentagon. this was a huge success. and, you know, there were people involved like john brennan who i think kind of went overboard talking about who had been engaged in hunting bin laden for more than 15 years. to you can begin to understand kind of the visceral sense of excitement and accomplishment that folks felt. and there was a tremendous amount of excitement in the country and a clamor for information. and so as often happens in these cases -- in fact, i'll go so far as to say as always happens in
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these circumstances -- individuals on the white house staff, pentagon staff knew more than they should have about what happened. in that sense i don't mean that they gave away -- i don't think anyone gave away important national secrets, but they did deliver misinformation. so, for instance, brennan said, characterized the seal raid as a fire fight, as this intense fire fight, and it wasn't. i mean, the seals when they hit the house were fired upon once, a burst of inaccurate fire. they returned fire. they don't do inaccurate fire. [laughter] so the guy who shot at them died. after that there was no more shooting except the seals methodically going through that house room by room, and i think the fate of any adult male in that house was sealed as soon as they were fired upon. because they can't wait around to see whether the next guy they encounter is going to open up on
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them, so they basically went through the house and snot every adult -- shot every adult male in the house except with one exception, they accidentally shot the wife of one of the men. so to characterize that as a fire fight was a stretch. one of the other things brennan said was, again, reflecting his animus towards bin laden, that he had been living this life of luxury in abbottabad. i don't know about you, but if somebody locked me in the upper two floors of a house with 12 children and three wives for five years, i wouldn't call that luxurious living myself. and apparently the wife didn't get along very well with one another. and bin laden, i mean, you can accuse the guy of a lot of things, mass murder among them, but he was never one to go for the good life. he shunned air-conditioning and refrigerators. he was an ascetic, you know? he saw himself as a holy warrior. he was living life in
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preparation for sort of taking to the hills at all time, and that was just how he had this romantic notion of himself. there were other ones. one of the myths which i've already addressed was that somehowsome administration -- this administration was leaking information willy-nilly and, boy, i can tell you, i wish. it was one of the more frustrating efforts of my life to get people to talk to me about this, and is no one was handing me anything. the biggest leak about this whole operation came from the seal who wrote his own book about the mission. and he argues or has argued that he hasn't leaked any secret information. well, i mean, if he hasn't, he leaked tons more than anybody else. so i don't know, you know, what they're claiming others did, but all i know is i got left out while the leaks were being distributed. what were one of the other ones? i lose track. oh, that it was a close call. that was one. you know, a lot of, there was a
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lot of talk about how divided the president's staff was. you heard me talk about the fact that i think this was a seriously gutsy move on the part of the president, but it was not him acting alone against the advice of his advisers. everyone advising him wanted to target the person in that compound except for joe biden. in fact, probably the person who's most publicly claiming what a smart move it was was the one guy in the room who said, no, mr. president, you should wait, we need to gather more intelligence. and being his running mate was the one guy in the room delivering political advice under those circumstances which was you know you're not going to get elected again if this goes down the toilet. is so that was kind of a myth. everybody else -- the one interesting thing is that secretary gates who advocated shooting the missile at the pacer instead of sending in the seals got back to his office at the pentagon, and his two
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deputies -- michael vickers and michelle flournoy -- dragged him into his office and said, boss, we think you're wrong about this and basically beat him up for about an hour, so he changed his mind after that. those were some of the things that i wrote about. >> sir, cadet mark song. as the war in afghanistan starts to wind down and the army begins to downsize, there's some debate going on as to what the composition of the future army should look like. so the bin laden raid is a good example of the effectiveness of special operations and it can strike at nonstate actors anywhere in the world. where do you believe big army operations belong in the war against international terrorism? >> ooh, good question. i don't know that there's much of a call in fighting terrorism in having large forces, but there are plenty of other threats that our country could conceivably face, and i think it would be a mistake to, you know,
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decide we're never going to have to fight any sort of senate war, any kind of -- any sort of significant war. clearly, there are scenarios where that could happen, and history is rife with examples of points where, you know, leadership to this country has concluded, oh, we're never going to have to fight the war again, so let's take apart the navy and the army only to discover that they've got to rapidly try to ramp back up. so i'm not enough of an expert, um, on military issues to have done any kind of a broad assessment of what all the potential threats are, but i think the most likely, frankly, the most likely threats we face as a nation right now are clearly cyber attacks and terrorist attacks which sort of overlap. right now it's hard to envision going to war with china over taiwan or, you know, having to go to korea to fight back, you know, an invasion of south korea. but these things can happen. and i think it would be a mistake for us not to be
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adequately prepared for the possibility. you bet. >> sir, major paul belmont. to follow on that and the technology piece you said earlier, it's interesting, we can be enamored with the potential of drones with the ability to do this, but both talking about the -- can we push too far the ability of technology when we consider 15 years of hunting osama bin laden, is that possible with drones and small groups of people in the cia floating around the world, but how much of this is getting inside that information loop is comment on the massive -- is dependent on the massive amount of resources on the ground to do that? you're talking about passing notes and couriers. they're not going to find e-mails, and the critical information we fed into the computer was fed not by passive
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or active computing, but by actual hands. so tying into that, how possible is it to combat terrorism or to combat any kind of threat if it's not fixed on a map and in a large army if we don't have via partners or allies, if we don't have human beings on the ground to get inside that information loop or to exploit it, then what's the point? >> yeah. well, i mean, i think that you're clearly right, and one of the major steps i probably didn't emphasize enough in developing this targeting engine that we have now have been, you know, the reconstitution of human spy networks all over the world. fortunately, the cost of those kinds of intelligence operations is nothing compared to the cost of, you know, adding five nuclear submarines to the military budget. so, i mean, it's a separate question really. i think we can, you know, maintain a very robust intelligence collection and
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analysis process in our military without breaking the budget. in fact, i think it's one of the more economic always of getting the most out of our military force. but i think more to the point of the cadet's question, when we think along those lines, i mean, we don't want to just toss out the idea of having, you know, an army to, you know, go to war if we need to even though we may not have a clear example in our minds of how we might have to use them. but you could not be more right. i really do think that we made a big mistake as a country, and i lived through it during the 1970s, when there was all this animosity toward the cia, toward the whole idea of intelligence work and intelligence collection. clearly, we've recovered from that error. one of the funny things in the story was por rell who's a lifelong cia guy. as he was leaving the white house the night that bin laden
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was killed heard the crowds in lafayette square chanting cia, cia. he says, man, i never thought i'd hear that. [laughter] anywhere in america. believe me, if you lived through the sort of mcgovern, eagleton years and the church committee years in the 1970s, it is surprising how much we've rebounded our appreciation for the need for intelligence collection both on the ground and in the air. okay? >> [inaudible] >> sir, you mentioned that the national security apparatus and the counterterrorism p apparatus have become adealt at targeting and destroying these terrorist networkings. do you think with the war in afghanistan winding down and the country trying to smooth out its budget, do you think we'll be able to retain that same level of competency in finding and destroying these networks? >> yeah, i do. i think that we, as i said, i don't think these are the most costly items in the budget. in fact, they're very cost
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effective, and i think we've adopted such a lie level -- such a high level of expertise in many cases with young people who maybe just enlisted ten years ago who have now accumulated a tremendous amount of experience. i doubt that we are going to lose that capability anytime soon, and i think we are going to continue the to need it. so i would be very surprised to see that erode drastically, although there was a story on page 1 of "the new york times" today, yeah, questioning, you know, whether we were going to be able to maintain the same high level of vigilance all over the place. but if i have to answer that question, i would say i don't see it as all that threatened. that is one thing that everybody get, i think. okay? >> i think we've reached the end of our allotted time for comments. thanks for all your great questions. >> yeah, thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. bowden, for coming to speak to us today. >>